Jumping the Broomstick
It’s an ancient custom with historic roots in which the bride and groom begin their new life by jumping over a broomstick tied with a ribbon
BY: Rob Kerby
A hilarious movie about two very different families converging on Martha's Vineyard for a wedding uses the term “Jumping the Broom” as its title.
What does it mean to “jump the broom”?
It’s an ancient custom in which the bride and groom signify their entrance into a new life by jumping over a festively decorated broom made with real straw and tied with a ribbon.
The custom actually is quite old with roots in Celtic culture. There are variations practiced by the Welsh, Celtics and Druids as well as nomadic Romani – or gypsies. The Welsh have a centuries-old custom called priodas coes ysgub, or "broomstick wedding." Local variations include placing the broom at an angle by the rear doorway of the church. The groom jumps first, followed by the bride.
Wedding planners have started inserting the custom into today’s festivities – along with the bride throwing her bouquet, the groom tossing her garter, and the guests showering the departing couple with rice – or for the more ecologically minded, birdseed or even soap bubbles.
However, there are some who cringe at the custom – since it can be a painful reminder of slavery in America. Some say broom jumping comes from an African tribal marriage ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple's new home. On some plantations, blacks were prohibited from learning to read or getting married. So, in hush-hush ceremonies, lovers would commit themselves to one another in front of their friends and family by stepping over a broomstick.
Watch the Trailer for Jumping the Broom
Watch More Videos From Beliefnet